'Tis the Season – Of Love!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Today's story will be a poignant one. We will build a deck around the Love Song of Night and Day, led by.
The poem Love Song of Night and Day was written by Jenny Scott, a long-time editor at Wizards of the Coast as part of the worldbuilding for Jamuraa (a continent on Dominaria), and was used as an in-story source of flavor text for the two sets that take place there, Mirage and Visions.
- Sep 1996
- Mirage is released with 11 cards featuring flavor text from the Love Song of Night and Day.
- Jan 1997
- Visions is released with an additional 6 cards featuring quotes from the poem.
- Apr 2003
- Jun 2018
- As part of Magic's 25th anniversary celebration at Grand Prix Las Vegas, head designer Mark Rosewater reads the poem during a wedding ceremony.
- Let's build a deck!
Please go read the poem if you haven't already. Then watch (or re-watch) the 1985 cult classic, Ladyhawke and compare the two. Yeah, I went there. And yes, it's Ladyhawke with an “e” – welcome to the 1980s.
While obviously set in a different, fantastical, cultural milieu, the movie pre-dates the poem by a decade, so one has to wonder just how much influence it had on Jenny Scott's writing. Both are loved regardless, it's just fun to explore these kinds of connections.
Before figuring out what our path should be, let's get a sense of where we are, starting with the 17 cards that define our theme. We can identify them visually using the advanced search features of scryfall.com. This search shows us all the cards whose flavor text includes segments of the poem.
(Keep in mind that the list below is programmed to show recent printings of these cards, and sometimes reprints lose or change flavor text over time. We'll be sure to include the versions of the cards that contain the poem when built in paper.)
Love Song CardsView on Archidekt
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So we see that the majority of cards are green and/or white, with one card each of mono-red and mono-blue, no mono-black cards, and then two multi-colored cards that include blue, red, and black. While we could cut a few cards to avoid playing five colors, I'm not a fan of that plan. Our deck is focused on a theme, not whomever we choose for our commander, and that theme is the poem. Cutting cards with relevant flavor text from our Vorthosian creation would be worse than a cEDH deck pilot replacing theirwith .
Beyond that, if we were to cut cards in order to streamline our deck's color identity,would be the first one on the chopping block. This is bad because that card's flavor text is the poem's final stanza; we would be cutting the poignant message that is the work's culmination. So that's a big no. We'll just need to find an appropriate 5-color commander, and EDHREC can help us with that.
Looking at the list of 5-color commanders, a lot of them immediately disqualify themselves; we're looking for a Human, or at the least someone human-like. Avatars, Artifacts, Slivers, Spirits, Elementals, Illusions, and Atogs are all no good. That leaves us with three choices: , , and .
The Unknowable Ladies
We literally know nothing about Najeela beyond the fact that she fights in Valor's Reach, so any love story we weave with her is pure fanfiction. General Tazri isn't much better, except that the fanfic with her and Gideon is likely to be a couple of years old at this point. That just leaves Jodah.
Jodah, Archmage Eternal
We know of two romances in which Jodah has been a participant during his 4,000+ years of life. Sima was Jodah's wife from before his immortality had become evident. More recently though, he and Jhoira were in a relationship that didn't work out despite their obvious similarities and ability to work well together.
Wait...now doesn't that just sound familiar? You read the poem, right?
Obviously Jodah didn't write the poem for Jhoira. Although both immortals are older than the events that transpired as part of the Mirage War, they would not meet until 300 years after that war's end. But it's likely that they both would have known of the poem's existence, and that's good enough for us.
1 commander plus 17 themed cards plus 38 lands leaves us with 44 slots to fill. Now we have to ask ourselves, "How much effort do we put into expanding on our theme(s), versus making the deck functional?"
I definitely want to include some cards that represent the other half of the love story, namely Jhoira. Next, because of the diversity of effects represented in the theme cards, I'd like to find at least one additional card that synergizes with each, in order to reduce the frequency of their being dead draws. Finally, it would probably be a mistake to forget cards that synergize with Jodah's ability, but we can also keep that in mind when filling out our other categories.
Additionally, I see no reason to exclude one version of Jhoira in favor of the other.lets us cheat casting costs, which high-CMC spells and gives us commander redundancy. This version of her represents the relationship at its “best.” In contrast, represents the relationship after it has ended – still able to work well and coordinate with Jodah, but having been unfulfilled by their time together.
Let's move on to the 17 cards that bear flavor text taken from the Love Song of Night and Day, and find ways to make them all useful to our deck. One way to do that is to search for our required cards on EDHREC, and look at the other cards that they are actually used with in other decks. Plus, pairing these cards up together is perfectly on-theme for Valentine's day!
Blinding Light -> Celestial Dawn
In a singleton format,is really only useful for setting up an alpha strike, but our 5-color deck isn't going to restrict itself to white creatures. Fortunately, Mirage has just what we need in the form of , which has the additional benefit of making our commander easier to use.
Femeref Knight -> Telim'Tor
There are not a lot of Flanking-matters cards forand friends, but fortunately also gives us another legendary creature with which we can trigger .
Remedy -> Selfless Squire
There are only two cards in all of Magic: the Gathering that trigger off of damage being prevented. Fortunatelyis a solid card on its own, and it can benefit from our using on ourselves.
Zhalfirin Knight -> Cavalry Master
I really wanted to putin this slot for the historic trigger, but there isn't enough other First Strike to justify it. So instead, and friends can have additional Flanking support with .
Kukemssa Pirates -> Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa
While the abilities ofand don't play well together, don't care, and leaving on defense is still a good option.
Flare -> Death Pits of Rath
Don't think ofas bad removal, think of it as a political tool... unless you have out.
Early Harvest -> Mirari's Wake
lets us multiply our mana (with a tax), and lets us multiply that multiplier, but don't forget the Harvest's political applications. We'll be building our mana base out of basics, fetches, and slow fetches in order to maximize our use of and other cards we haven't yet discussed. And of course, it plays well with .
Mortal Wound -> Muldrotha, the Gravetide
is essentially a one-shot ; if only we had a way to recur it, and our weenie creatures, and our fetchlands, and... oh, hello !
Panther Warriors -> Burning Anger
What synergizes with a one-off vanilla creature likeand is still useful to the rest of your deck? fits, but if your build needs something cheaper, consider .
Summer Bloom -> Crucible of Worlds
doesn't have the raw power in Commander that it does in Modern, unless we have a bunch of land in our graveyard and , or...
Village Elder -> Ramunap Excatavor
...ain play. Combined with Muldrotha, we now have three ways to recur the Forests that will be sac'd to .
Wild Elephant -> Bow of Nylea
You play Commander, so you probably know about the interaction between trample and deathtouch., meet .
Simoon -> Pestilent Spirit
It's a shame thattargets a single opponent, rather than affecting all opponents, but at least adds a second option for making its damage lethal.
Unfullfilled Desires -> Font of Agonies
I'm not sure I have any moreafter the printing of , because it fulfilled all my desires, but we'll want to add more cards that require paying life to really take advantage of it. , the fixed on-a-stick, comes to mind.
Zebra Unicorn -> Celestial Mantle
agrees with the regarding , and also wants to express some , but feels it could do a better job all around if it had some help in the form of a .
Chariot of the Sun -> Floodgate
This is how the Johnnies and Jennies rolled in 1996, and now you can too!is already an enabler, so it's not easy finding something that enables it. Fortunately, Mirage has again provided its own answer in the form of . Feel free to cut it from your build though, then stick in a big creature that doesn't already fly, like .
Sands of Time -> Awakening
Welcome to our deck's soft-lock win-con enablement team. With both in play on our opponents' turns, put thetrigger on the stack first, then the trigger. will resolve first, untapping all their creatures and lands, then will tap them all again. Note that they can tap things after resolves, but before does, so will still have their mana, but you still deprive everyone of their defensive creatures. On your turn, reverse the order that the triggers go on the stack, allowing you to:
- Tap all your lands and artifacts for mana;
- Sands untaps them all;
- Tap them all again for mana;
- Awakening re-untaps them;
- Activate a couple times and still have all untapped mana sources.
We need another 20 cards. From here we should be able to take our cues from one of three sources: Jodah's commander page on EDHREC, one of several deck techs done by various YouTube content creators, or Joseph Schultz's Commander Showdown article featuring Jodah. I leave that exploration as an exercise for the reader, but here are the final results of mine:
Love SongView on Archidekt
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Day and Night
I hope you enjoyed this exploration through Magic's epic poetry, and I hope Jodah and Jhoira are able to find comfort in the epic journey this deck put them through.
Have a lovely Valentine's Day, and we'll see you next time!